Court awards N10.6m against NNPC for blocking road

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday awarded the N10.6m damages against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for unlawfully blocking part of the highway in front of its Corporate Headquarters in Abuja which led to a motor accident.

The amount was awarded in favour of a veteran journalist, Eze Geo Anika, whose Peugeot 406 was damaged in 2012 as a result of the unlawful blockage.

The accident happened before the retirement of Anika, former judicial editor of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, now the monarch of Ata Kingdom in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

Delivering judgment, Justice Babatunde Quadiri agreed with the plaintiff that the NNPC was negligent in blocking the highway without road signs as required by law.

He held that the claims of the plaintiff regarding the accident and the documents tendered to support his claims were not faulted by the NNPC or its witnesses.

The Judge rejected the claim of the NNPC that the Federal Government through the National Security Adviser was responsible for the placing of the concrete barriers around the NNPC towers without road signs.

Justice Quadri also rejected another claim by the NNPC that recklessness and speeding on the part of the plaintiff was responsible for the accident.

The judge awarded N5.1m in favour of the Eze Anika as the cost of the damaged vehicle, another N5m as special damages while N500,000 was granted as the cost of litigation.

The former FRCN veteran journalist had dragged the NNPC to court for illegally blocking the highways within its multi billion Naira Towers in Abuja without notifications or road signs or warnings.

The traditional ruler in the suit instituted on his behalf by his counsel, Malachy Nwekpe had prayed the court to compel the NNPC to pay him a sum of N50m as damages for allegedly causing the accident.

The broadcaster in an amended statement of claims, sought N44.1m as special damages, N5.1m as cost of his damaged car and another N.5m as cost of prosecuting his case against the NNPC.

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